Chapter 17 Sample interview questions

Understanding clients: individuals and businesses

How do you think that you could make a client/customer confident that you are commercially aware of their business and their needs?

This question may be asked in different ways, e.g.:

  • What are the main attributes for a successful commercial lawyer?
  • What do you know about commercial clients?
  • What are the main differences between individual and business clients?
  • Tell us a commercial story that has interested you and why?

If you have done your research before you attend the interview, you will be aware of the type of clients that the firm acts for and have the ability to anticipate their needs. This is much more than simply identifying the legal issues that the client has raised. You must show that you have researched and are aware of the environment in which they are operating, and the client’s underlying financial and commercial concerns and objectives. However, these questions are designed to test your commercial awareness. Topical political and economic issues come into play here. For example, what will be the impact of Brexit for a particular business (see answer to Brexit question above)? How far can climate activism influence corporate governance? How would an increase or cut in interest rates affect a client’s business?

You need to be able to show that you know what is going on around you and can relate this to the needs of your clients. Do not make the mistake of waiting until the week before the interview to brush up on the news, as you will undoubtedly be rumbled. Keep up to date on a regular basis.

What advice would you give to a friend who wants to set up a restaurant?

Chapter 17 looks at the specific issues and concerns of an individual setting up a business. Again, however, your answer should make it clear that you are aware of topical issues which will influence the decision, e.g. the high number of insolvencies in recent years in the restaurant sector, e.g. Patisserie Valerie (Chapter 15) or Jamie Oliver’s restaurant chain.

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